Remembering Doug

The first time I ever saw Doug Baum, he intimidated the crap out of me. He was huge, his head was shaved, and he was covered in tattoos. Based on my very first impression, if I was casting a movie and needed someone to play an evil, skinhead trucker, I probably would have cast Doug. But after talking to him for just a few minutes, my initial first impression went right out the window, and I quickly came to realize that Doug was as close to a teddy bear as one person can be.

Over the last five or six years, Doug and I became friends. He worked on three of my films as an assistant director and an associate producer, and if there was ever someone that I would consider to be part of my core crew, it would have been Dougie. On my first narrative feature, Damaged Goods, Doug was one of the people who really kept things from falling apart. As an assistant director, his job was pretty much to keep things moving along, even if it meant that he had to be an asshole. And if there was anyone who loved being an asshole, it was Doug. But it was all an act. He tried really hard to be the cold-blooded tough guy, but he just couldn’t do it.

Two days ago I talked to Doug about some mail that the Screen Actors Guild had sent to me at his address. For some reason, SAG kept sending my mail to Doug, and I was calling him to remind him to forward it to me. The call lasted exactly one minute and seventeen seconds. It’s amazing how much can be said in a conversation that lasts 77 seconds, and how much goes unsaid. But when the person you were just talking to dies two days later, you realize that you should have spent more than 77 seconds having a very trivial conversation about forwarding mail.

Earlier today I got a phone call from a good friend telling me that Doug died in his sleep. He was 38 years-old.

I’m trying to make sense of it all, but honestly, there’s not much sense to be made. A friend has died. There will be no more arguments over Italian filmmaker Lucio Fulci, who Doug loved, but I was never a fan of. I won’t be able to call Doug and tell him about the film I just watched, Zombie Strippers, which was an idea he had years ago. When I make my next movie, Doug won’t be there to yell at the crew for not working fast enough. There will be no more great meals cooked by Doug, who loved his barbecue.

If any of you reading this didn’t know Dougie, then you were missing out. But if you did know him, then you know what a great guy he was. I will miss him very much, but more importantly, I will always appreciate the time he was in my life. Rest in peace, Doug.



One Response to “Remembering Doug”

  1. blorvak Says:

    Horrible news. Simply horrible.

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